Here is something I come across a lot: “Oh you teach online, so you teach on skype”. I can tell you from experience , the term “online lessons”, is entirely associated with skype. And I am not saying that this is good or bad, but it is a fact. It is actually like relating daily commute to Uber.
There are many teachers who teach entirely via skype. Though, nowadays there are so many options, like teleconference rooms and online classes, where students and teachers are experiencing teaching and learning in the most contemporary and efficient way.
Let’s talk about skype for a minute. Where should we position skype in the modern distance learning and how complete could a lesson via skype be? The reality is that skype is a free online interfacing application which offers high quality sound and image between the participants. Is that enough for teaching? Students and teachers looking at and listening to each other? In a conventional classroom that would mean that the teachers are not sharing common notes or books, that there is no blackboard for teachers and students to write on and of course each classroom should have only one student.
So, we see that teaching via skype is incomplete and has nothing to do with the classroom as we know it. That means that skype couldn’t function effectively or replace the conventional classroom, unless a few extra tools and applications are added in order to complete its function. For example, the teacher could use an online interactive board to share content and notes with the student. That would require the simultaneous and adequate use of 2 or even more applications, which means that when the teacher is conducting the lessons via skype , they should also have at least one more application running and use them all at the same time.
Why should we make things so complicated when there are dozens of available online environments that offer all the necessary tools to conduct a complete online lesson? Let’s gain insight into that.
There are many obtainable platforms that constitute the online classrooms and are used by hundreds of universities and schools abroad. These platforms are offering high quality sound and image for all participants, whom the number can be larger per class. Except for the communication part, these platforms have incorporated and interactive whiteboard which can be used to present digital books and notes.
Additionally, all participants can write on the whiteboard, just like they would do on the blackboard of a conventional classroom, by using a digital pen. They can also underline parts of the digital books or write additional notes during their lesson. It’s worth mentioning that through the interactive whiteboard each teacher can also share video files from his computer or even audio files. It’s obvious that in this way the online lesson does not fall short of a conventional lesson in any way.
So why holding yourself back when future is already here?